March 3, 2009 With the increasing use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) against the coalition forces in the Iraq War and in other theater operations, continued focus is being placed on protection of our soldiers and vehicles. To this end, BAE Systems a global defense, security and aerospace company has delivered two different M-ATV (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles) prototypes to the U.S. Government for two months of testing and evaluation. The USC M-ATV and the GTS M-ATV.
IEDs have been used extensively against coalition forces and by the end of 2007 were said to be responsible for approximately 40% of coalition deaths in Iraq. An IED or roadside bomb is an explosive device constructed and deployed in ways other than used in conventional military action. They are often placed on the curb of roads (hence referred to as a roadside bomb) so as to be detonated when vehicles or pedestrians pass by. Military equipment manufacturers like BAE are fast tracking their technology development and manufacturing turnaround in an endeavor to reduce the injury and death caused by these devices.
The M-ATVs are tactical all terrain vehicles designed for U.S. soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan and other theater operations. They are lighter, more mobile versions of the first-generation Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP’s) that can provide comparable protection from roadside bombs, explosively formed projectiles and rocket propelled grenades when using appliqué armor. “This vehicle has the survivability of an MRAP and the mobility of a Humvee (HMMWV),” said Matt Riddle, Vice President and General Manager of USCS. “It has the optimum capabilities needed by our troops in Afghanistan.” The USCS M-ATV drew on the developmental experience of the nine RG-33 MRAP variants (originally designed by BAE in South Africa and built in York, Pennsylvania USA) currently deployed in Iraq, providing the same level of armored protection at a reduced vehicle weight. The company designed, developed, produced and fielded over 2,000 RG-33 vehicles from 2007 to 2008 in order to meet urgent government need for armored tactical vehicles says BAE.
With a curb weight of less than 9 tons and a high power-to-weight ratio, the USCS M-ATV offers better dash and slope speeds than any other ground vehicle in the U.S. inventory says BAE. The vehicle has a low center of gravity to prevent roll-overs and ensure maximum off-road mobility. It features a commercial turbo-charged diesel V8 engine with a top speed of 80 mph and best-in-class fuel economy. It also has a fully independent suspension for improved mobility over rocky and steep terrain when compared to the standard straight axle systems of traditional MRAP’s, says BAE. It also generates 10 kilowatts of vehicle host power and an additional 20 kilowatts of power for export and mission equipment.
The GTS M-ATV is based on the Caiman Light MRAP; a V-hulled vehicle based on the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) of which nearly 3,000 were manufactured from 2007 to 2008 says BAE. “Our M-ATV provides urgent life-saving technology, multi-mission effectiveness, and operational agility not currently available to the Army,” said Regis Luther, Vice President of Light Tactical Vehicles. “We combined the industry’s best in combat vehicle survivability and mine blast resistant platforms to develop our M-ATV.” Modular Explosive Formed Projectile (EFP) and Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) protection systems are integrated into a highly survivable M-ATV baseline chassis says Luther.
The GTS M-ATV shares 90 percent of its automotive systems with the FMTV. They also share common armor systems, power generation systems, seats, windows, and fire suppression systems say BAE. This standardization of components is a key and critical focus within modern army logistics. With ever decreasing budgets and the need to utilize tax payer’s dollars more effectively, standardization enables lower inventory levels to be held, with correspondingly reduced costs. Standardization also leads to improved serviceability in the field saving lives. Components can be stripped from other vehicles (e.g., a FMTV to an M-ATV) reducing breakdown times and getting a critically needed vehicle back online where it is needed. Under fire, this will decrease the likely hood of injury of death to the service technicians or crew. As fewer parts need to be carried or deployed to the front line, mobility and speed of the logistics operation are improved. This further adds to the reduction in vehicle breakdown times and the exposure of troops to injury or death..
Via BAE Systems.